Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Book 77: Skellig by David Almond

This is actually one of the books we're reading in class next year, so I wanted to get ahead - I have a stack of 4 more waiting. My kids have all read this, either with a class or independently but somehow I never got to it - it's a remarkable story. And will be really interesting to see what a bunch of 10 year olds make of it.

Dinner, 22/8/17: Wholemeal spinch & potato pies

We love these, but don't have them as often as Geoff would like because they take a bit more time than we usually have for a weeknight dinner. Luckily, summer allows for a bit more leeway that way. And of course I made enough to have some leftover for lunch the following day...

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Dinner, 19/8/17: Sausages, mash, cabbage

Sausages from an excellent local butcher (Bevan's - via Garsons Farm)...

Friday, August 18, 2017

Book 75: The Reason I Jump by Naoki Higashida

Picked this up in Oxford the other day and started it on the bus back to the park and ride. It's a very quick read; a sort of Q&A about autism, written with sensitivity by a young Japanese boy (13/14 at the time of writing) with autism. Interesting insights into why some autistic people act and react in certain ways. I think his second one will be even more interesting as it's written when he's older, and will probably be a little more in depth. 

Dinner, 18/8/17: Pizzas

Homemade pizza night in the North household - mine this time was a white pizza (no tomato suace) with cheese, pepperoni, jalapenos, artichokes. It was yummy...

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Book 74: The Foreshadowing by Marcus Sedgwick

There are days when I think I will just curl up and read Young Adult fiction forever... There is so much really good stuff out there in that genre; Marcus Sedgwick is a relatively recent discovery and he's really brilliant - this one is the story of a young girl who finds that she can foresee people's deaths - not a great power at the best of times, but when it's the First World War and you have two older brothers, perhaps even less great. An excellent book.

Dinner, 17/8/17: Asian Chicken Dumplings with Spiralized Vegetables

We really like this dish; the raw, dressed, spiralized veg are perfect for a summer supper. This time we used carrot and marrow as I had another marrow from our recent visit to Garsons Farm to use up. 

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Books in

Well, we were in Oxford today with Geoff's brother and sister in law, and we popped into Waterstones so Geoff could pick up a few books - his reading shelf was running low (unlike mine, I know, I know). I was fairly restrained, buying only these, two of which are actually non-fiction, and the other a young adult title. I've actually already started one of them on the bus back to the park & ride; it will be a quick read.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Dinner, 15/8/17: Thai sticky chicken & ribs, corn, new potatoes

This was Sarah's choice - she made the marinade and cooked the ribs and chicken (which were excellent). The corn and potatoes were just boiled, so it wasn't really tricky...

Monday, August 14, 2017

Book 73: The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman

Last in the trilogy, which I've been re-reading. Reminded once again of how excellent these books are. Brilliantly constructed world, great characters, compelling plot, not to mention a strong argument against organised religion at the same time as being an even stronger argument towards individual morality and responsibility to the rest of the world... 

Dinner, 14/8/17: Stuffed Marrow

Originally, I had planned something else with the turkey mince that this recipe uses, but then we went to Garsons Farm (a pick-your-own place) last week, and I couldn't resist buying a couple of marrows. (This only used one of them; not sure what I'll do with the other one. Maybe spiralise it.)  So I stuffed it with turkey mince, cooked with herbs and tomatoes; there's a cheesy breadcrumb crust on top. Really tasty, though I think I'd definitely peel the marrow next time as the skins were a little tough.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Book 72: The Subtle Knife, Philip Pullman (re-read)

Second in the Dark Materials trilogy, which I am re-reading. Still excellent.

Dinner, 12/8/17: Pasta Bake (Alex cooking)

Earlier this year I threatened my family with the idea that I wasn't going to plan meals, shop, or cook in August. I'm not sticking to this, but I am requiring a lot more involvement from them, so this was Alex's contribution to our "Everyone Does More Cooking and Stuff in the Summer" movement. (Love the catchy title!)

Friday, August 11, 2017

Dinner, 11/8/17: Cauliflower Cheese, sauteed potatoes (Geoff cooking)

Not normally a dish you'd choose in August, perhaps, but although the weather is somewhat better than it was, we are not in the midst of a heatwave, so a little cauliflower cheese is just the thing. Especially when someone else is cooking it...

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Dinner, 10/8/17: Corn on the Cob; Chicken Soup

Forgot to take a photo of the soup - the corn came from the Pick-Your-Own place (Garsons Farm), so it was actually growing in a field until about 11am. A very nice first course before our soup.

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Book 71: Northern Lights by Philip Pullman (re-read)

For some reason I got a craving to re-read these; I think it's because I read an article about his new book set in this world coming out soon. Anyway, still excellent, even on a third read through; expect the other two shortly!

Dinner, 9/9/17: Spaghetti Pomodoro (Gino D'Acampo)

A very simple pasta with tomato and basil sauce. We also had some garlic bread from the freezer, but this one is about as simple as it gets. You can, of course, grate lashings of Parmesan over it, if you so wish.

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Monday, August 07, 2017

Book 70: Sense & Sensibility, Jane Austen (re-read)

Technically, this is a re-read, though I haven't read it in years. It's not my favourite (Persuasion) but it's certainly well above my least favourite (Emma). And as usual, parts of it are very funny. Glad to have re-visited it.

Dinner, 7/8/17: Pork and Veg Stir Fry

Served with rice (not shown).  I had some pork fillet in the freezer from something, so this was an exercise in using it up, along with whatever veg was either in the fridge (carrots, yellow pepper) or readily accessible at our local shop (courgette, chard, chilis). Along with some oyster sauce from the cupboard and some soy sauce and rice. Easy.

Sunday, August 06, 2017

Dinner, 6/8/17: Roast Belly Pork, Roast Potatoes, Pak Choi

This small roast was from the farmers market, and was very tasty. There was gravy, too, but I seem to have photographed my plate pre-gravy, rather than post. And there was blackberry ice cream for dessert, but no photo of that.

Saturday, August 05, 2017

Blackberry Cobbler

Gorgeous - really nice use for blackberries, great recipe from BettyCrocker.com

Dinner, 5/8/17: Pea and New Potato Curry

We like the taste of this, but the potatoes cooked very unevenly, with some done and some virtually raw. This despite lots of stirring, etc. Strange.

Thursday, August 03, 2017

Dinner, 3/8/17: Fajitas!

The usual assortment of fajita fillings, except this time I added some spicy tofu to the mix as well (which was really tasty) to cater for a vegan friend of Olivia's, who was eating with us (most of the rest is vegan-accessible as well, except the chicken, cheese and sour cream)...

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

When in Amsterdam...

take a canal tour. 

Doesn't really show in this photo, but you can see down through about 7 bridges in a straight line down this canal.

Book 69: The Summer Book by Tove Jansson

I was only familiar with Tove Jansson as a children's author (creator of the Moomins) but apparently, she wrote a number of books for adults, including this one, which is a small, quirky story of the relationship between a child and her elderly grandmother, mostly following the death of the child's mother. It takes place on a small island in Finland in a number of summers (the time telling is non-linear) and it's a lovely picture of a place, a time, a relationship. It's apparently a Scandinavian classic and I can see why - I can imagine re-reading this many times over the course of a life, when you want to dip into that world.

Books in

Two different books by Dutch authors, in translation, from two different bookshops in Amsterdam. One right around the corner from our hotel, which looked like a great bookshop.  When I brought the book to the counter (The Tea Lords) he said "It's a Dutch classic."  Good, I said, that's what I wanted!

NDSM Wharf, Amsterdam

This morning, we went across the harbour to check out the NDSM wharf, an area now developed into artist studios, some housing, outdoor art projects, etc,  as well as a festival venue, from a previously disused industrial area - a former shipping wharf. There were a lot of decorated containers around, as well as other industrial things like cranes, warehouses, etc. 

This warehouse was full of art, art spaces, studios, intsallments, etc.

Also nearby, some houses made out of shipping containers.

And this was docked nearby - a boat hotel. You can even stay inside the huge letters on top. Crazy!